Relevant Education Acts

Scotland only *

1560* Extract from the First Book of Discipline, which was sanctioned by the General Assembly, 29 May 1560, and subscribed by a great portion of the members of the Privy Council.

‘Of necessitie, therefore, we judge it, that every several kirke have one schoolmaister appointed, such a one at least as is able to teach grammar and the Latine tongue, if the town be of any reputation: If it be upaland, where the people convene to the doctrine but once in the week, then must either the reader or the minister there appointed, take care of the children and youth of the parish, to instruct them in the first rudiments especially in the Catechisme . . . And, furder, we think it expedient, that in every notable town, and specially in the town of the superintendent, there be erected a colledge, in which the arts, at least logic and rhetoricke, together with the tongues, be read by sufficient masters, for whom honest stipends must be appointed: As also provision for those that be poore, and not able by themselves nor by their friends to be sustained at letters, and, in speciall, those that come from landward. . ..’

In consequence it was envisaged that ‘first, the youth-head and tender children shall be nourished and brought up in vertue, in presence of their friends. . . . Secondly, the exercise of children in every kirke shall be great instruction to the aged. Last, the great schooles called the universities, shall be replenished with those that shall be apt to learning, for this must be carefully provided that no father, of what estate or condition that ever he may be, use his children at his own fantasie, especially in their youth-head; but all must be compelled to bring up their children in learning and vertue.’

1693* Act of the Scottish Parliament ‘For Settling the Quiet and Peace of the Church’, 12th June 1693

‘All Schoollmasters and Teachers of Youth in schools are and shall be liable to the tryall, judgement and censure of the Presbyteries of the Bounds for their sufficiency, qualifications and deportment in the said Office’.

‘Thus presbyteries were empowered to test schoolmasters before they began their work, and to inspect schools regularly to ensure that the teaching was satisfactory.’ (Bone). With the growth of Adventure and Subscription Schools church control became limited to parish and, with the co-operation of the town councils, burgh schools. With the extension of education to ‘Assembly Schools’ and Sessional Schools’ these were also inspected by the church authorities.

1696* Act of the Scottish Parliament for Settling of Schools, 9th October 1696

‘That there shall be a School settled and established, and a Schoolmaster appointed in every Parish not already provided, by Advice of the Heritors and Minister of the Parish; and for that Effect, that the Heritors in every parish meet, and provide a commodious House for a School and settle and modify a Sallary to a Schoolmaster, which shall not be under one hundred Merks, nor above two hundred Merks to be paid yearly at two Terms, Whitsunday and Martinmas by equal Portions’.

1802 The Factory Act of 1802 required that children employed by the owners of the newly arising factories were taught reading, writing, and arithmetic during the first four years of their apprenticeship.
1803* Act for making better provision for the Parochial Schoolmasters, and for making further regulations for the better government of the Parish Schools in Scotland

Future salaries of parochial school masters shall not be ‘under the sum of 300 merks Scots per annum nor above the sum of 400 merks Scots per annum”, They were to be revised every 25 years or fixed accordingly to “the value or average price of a chalder of oatmeal for all Scotland’.

The schoolmaster was to be provided with a house not consisting of more than 2 Apartments  including the kitchen.

1834 Poor Law Amendment Act which attempted to ensure daily instruction to pauper children. It proposed the establishment of district schools away from the workhouse premises, bringing together children from workhouses in different parishes.
1838* Act to facilitate the foundation and establishment of additional schools in Scotland

Additional parish schools to be established, ‘parliamentary schools, built with aid of a government grant in quoad sacra parishes. The parish schoolmaster’s house was now to consist of ‘no less than two Rooms besides the Kitchen’.

1846 Committee of Council Minute The Government took on most of the costs of training school teachers, although the training colleges remained denominational. A pupil-teacher system was adopted whereby, in schools approved by an inspector, children aged 13 years could be apprenticed to a teacher for 5 years and, after passing an examination, could attend a training college for three years.
1861* Parochial and Burgh Schoolmasters Act

In August 1861 an Act of Parliament was passed which ‘entirely severed all burgh schools from the Church, by providing that no master of any burgh school shall be subject to the government or discipline of the Established Church or to the trial, judgement or censure of the Presbytery for his sufficiency, qualifications or deportment in office’.

Salaries of schoolmaster were to be not less than £35 nor more than £70. Heritors were permitted to employ a female teacher to give instruction in ‘branches of Female Industry and Household training as well as of Elementary Education’. The female teacher’s salary was not to exceed £30 a year.

Schoolmasters were no longer required to sign the Confession of Faith. The examination of school from the Presbyteries and made the responsibility of the Universities.

1861 Revised Code

The Revised Code was introduced following the Newcastle Commission to ensure parity of provision and attainment. Schools could claim 4s a year for each pupil with a satisfactory attendance record. An additional 8s was paid if the pupil passed examinations in reading, writing and arithmetic. Pupils were assessed by HMIs and teachers, whose salaries normally depended on the size of the grant, were tempted to change their approach to education. In many schools, teachers concentrated exclusively on preparing the children for the yearly HMI visit.

1869 The Endowed Schools Act led to a reorganization of the schools governing bodies, revision of charities providing schooling, and included the extension of education to girls.
1870 Elementary Education Act divided England and Wales into about 2,500 secular school districts; established School Boards elected by local ratepayers; allowed School Boards to build and maintain schools out of the rates (local taxes); let School Boards make their own by-laws which would allow them to charge fees or, if they wanted, to let children in free; allowed women to vote for and serve on the School Boards.
1871 Code of Regulations were created an infant stage for the 5-7 age range, so seven became the age of transfer from the infant school or department to the Elementary School.
1872* Education (Scotland) Act

Made provision for the establishment transfer School Boards and the transfer of parochial and burgh schools to the new authorities.

1876 School leaving age was fixed at 10 years
1880 Mundela’s Education Act made attendance compulsory
1891 School leaving age was raised to 11 years
1899 School leaving age was raised to 12 years
1902 Education Act (England and Wales) abolished School Boards, replacing them with Local Education Authorities.
1918 School leaving age was raised to 14 years and Elementary education was made free in law.